The first thing you should know when you plan to dine at The Half King Bar & Restaurant is nothing here is done halfway.
Arriving with my pal, Rebecca ΓÇô a real foodie ΓÇô we were pleasantly seated in the rustic pub setting at a banquet table that can easily serve six, and Rebecca noted several paintings featuring people behind desks on the walls.
“It’s an installation of bureaucrats from around the world,” explained Half King manager Mike, adding that the restaurant’s art changes every two months and is available for purchase. And since we love a celeb connection, we were pleased to learn one of the restaurant’s owners is Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, who just celebrated the restaurant’s tenth year.
Our server Ryan was casually dressed in a plaid shirt befitting of the restaurant’s laid-back vibe. We started with a 2008 La Vendemia Rioja, which was fruity and reasonably priced at $25 — and it had a super cute label.
It was on to the appetizer that gets my award for most creative food mesh: crab cakes infused with angel hair pasta, adding just of touch of texture through the starch, topped with mango salsa and guacamole and a side salad. Perfect alone for a light meal. For a carnivore like myself, five mini-burgers on brioche with tomato salsa and spicy mayonnaise could have done the trick.
But like I said before, The Half King doesn’t let you go home half-full. We boldly moved on to the special entrees for the night: cornmeal crusted rainbow trout; a cumin crusted pork chop served over jambalaya; and a three-bean veggie chili with eggplant, celery and roasted peppers as part of its recipe. And then there was dessertΓÇª. What could be more rustic than pecan pie? Sorry, hips!
The hearty dishes are arty enough to please a refined palate, but the food is definitely not frou-frou. You could totally bring your boyfriend here and he’d go home with a full belly.
In fact, he may have to take half home.
The Half King is located at 505 West 23rd Street in New York City. For more information visit their website, www.thehalfking.com.
photo credit: Rebecca Peterson